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Prelude and Fugue in C minor, BWV549

composer
transposed version of the Prelude and Fugue in D minor, BWV949a

 
BWV549 has a fascinating provenance; scholars note that the C minor work is a actually transposition of the Prelude and Fugue in D minor (BWV549a)—an identical work transposed up possibly to avoid a high ‘d’ in the opening pedal solo (see Williams 2003 p. 125). The C minor version (BWV549) played here also bears striking resemblances to the C major Prelude BWV531. The Prelude of BWV549 opens with an arresting pedal solo, based on a rising sequence of suspirans figures, highlighted by the characteristic ‘intake of breath’. The main material of the Prelude builds on the pedal’s figures, with an almost melancholy gravitas—evident in this recording. Of particular interest are the block chords heard around the half-way mark that contrast with the spun counterpoint, as well as a certain simplicity to the harmony. The simplicity carries over to the Fugue, with its long melodious subject, written as though with a silent text. Texturally, there is an audible similarity with Prelude—compare the manual’s block chords when the pedal finally enters (after a lengthy manualiter exposition). Eventually, semiquaver-driven writing breaks free into free demisemiquavers for the final section.

from notes by George Parsons © 2019

Recordings

Bach: The Complete Organ Works, Vol. 11
Studio Master: SIGCD811Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

Movement 1: Prelude
Track 1 on SIGCD811 [2'20] Download only
Movement 2: Fugue
Track 2 on SIGCD811 [3'46] Download only

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